What is VPS Hosting and When to move to VPS?

Last month this blog moved from shared hosting to VPS hosting by the same service provider (HostGator). It has been a long pending decision for me because the number of mini-blogs and sites that I manage has been increasing every month and the performance of my shared web server has been heading south.

Basically, I decided to sign up with a suitable VPS hosting account for my medium to high traffic authority blogs while reserving the shared hosting account for mini-blogs and landing pages. If you are planning to move to VPS, I would recommend HostGator VPS i.e. if you want to just signup and forget (or let the support team do everything for you). There are other amazing VPS hosting providers as well.

When to move to VPS?

Before deciding when to move, let us first understand What is VPS Hosting. VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a hosting solution sitting between shared hosting and dedicated server in terms of the features it offers. Basically, VPS slices your server resources vertically to allocate you certain amount of disk space, memory, processing power and bandwidth. Unlike shared hosting, your blog or website does not suffer in a bad way from major performance issues while on VPS hosting because your account has your own dedicated chunk of resources (pictures below). In shared hosting, it’s like a pool from which you consume bandwidth, disk space and processing power until it is exhausted.

Note: The pictures below are only meant for a raw comparison. Actual virtualization is a complicated topic in itself

shared-hosting-diagram

VPS actually allocates a chunk of the server resources for your account that ONLY your domains can consume.

what is vps hosting

More over VPS allows unlimited domain hosting (like shared), multiple dedicated IPs, private name servers etc along with the option of using semi-managed or fully-managed solutions – all within your own private space. You can also decide whether you want cPanel or Plesk for your admin interface or nothing (if you are a Linux system expert that is)

In my case, I opted for cPanel (that I am used to) and two IPs and a VPS level 3 package from HostGator to begin with. It’s a fully managed service which means I do not need to do anything technical from my end to move from shared to VPS.

Moving to VPS is a decision that’s taken based on the following criteria.

  • High website traffic and hence need for speed
  • Your business’ branding needs – using private name servers etc
  • Supportability – Full or semi-managed hosting support
  • Improved security – Advanced security features, backups and monitoring
  • Ability to manage your client’s hosting needs – You can create individual accounts within your VPS to provide hosting services to your clients. Just like the way reseller hosting works
  • Advanced performance management options – Good hold on the server parameters for better performance
  • SEO needs – Fast loading pages, dedicated IPs and private name servers seem to help the onsite SEO aspects of a website

If you get more than say a couple of thousand page visits per day, the shared hosting may not be suitable for you. Even if that’s not the case, if you are sharing your hosting space with large number of high traffic blogs or websites, you are anyhow under severe resource crunch.

Steps involved in moving to VPS

If you are on fully managed VPS package, pretty much everything is taken care of by your VPS hosting support team. Typically, the following are the steps involved.

  1. Backup your current hosting files & database
  2. Backup your email data. If you are currently using cPanel, the entire cPanel data with mail accounts can be copied to VPS with cPanel
  3. Create a hosting package on your VPS account with disk space and bandwidth defined
  4. Install your CMS and restore data
  5. Create DNS records for your private name servers
  6. Update your private name servers with your domain registrar so that your domain now points to your VPS hosting

Needless to say, it is all done by the support team and hence you just need to know how to use your WHM (Web Host Manager) interface and cPanel.

VPS Performance Tweak

Most VPS hosting services are optimized for performance. However, they also offer additional performance packs by paying a nominal onetime fee. I did not go for such a pack but kind of optimized this blog myself to load it in as low as 0.8 seconds using the W3 Total Cache plugin, MaxCDN content delivery network and Google Page speed Firefox extension.

On my shared hosting, the site was never loading under 3 seconds but now the case is different.

I shall soon write another post about how I optimized this blog for optimum performance.

Happy Hosting!

Comments

  1. Ajith, its a very simple article, me on VPS for the last few years. if you are running multiple websites its better to use VPS.

  2. Venkat :

    Hi Ajith, the post was very useful to me personally as I’m swinging between various hosting plans. Where I’m stuck is whether to go for multiple domain hosting or not. I would also like to know if VPS can be used for hosting multiple domains( with less or moderate traffic) without any problems.

  3. Absolutely Ajith, VPS is the way for any experiencing high traffic which made me move, and as you said fully managed service is the best part.Unfortunately for me I lost traffic right after moving over to VPS, which was before the Google Panda Update..

  4. We moved from Shared hosting, to VPS then to Cloud based VPS with another competitive host that I won’t name as they forced our hand to upgrade (we needed more disk space and all they wanted to do was turn our server off) but to be honest it’s the best decision we’ve ever made. Same scenario as described but loving the knowledge that we can ramp it up if we need it and bring it right down to bare bones when we don’t.

    The latency on the server has dropped quite significantly and I can now make some much needed PageSpeed and YSlow tweaks rather than thinking who else is hammering the server.

  5. Absolutely right Ajith. As you have seen, there are many advantages for you to get Virtual private server internet hosting. If you learn to sense, you are outgrowing your present that is shared program, be sure to include Virtual private server internet hosting among your alternatives.

  6. Siranjeevi :

    Simple and very useful article.

  7. Very useful article. I learned vps. I like to buy vm and linode vps.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Harsha Sagar :

    Well I moved from Shared Hosting to VPS just a 3 days back.. and its been challenging to get things working right.. optimizing my site on the VPS is my next task

  9. Nipon :

    If you know to how to run server,I recommend linode. I have used them and found them to be great. But try only if you know how to run a vps. Hostgator VPS is also good.

  10. Hi Ajith Edassery,

    Will MaxCDN move all our contents from VPS Disk space to their Server?
    Currently I am running out of disk space in VPS and they are asking to upgrade disk space. Am little confused whether to go with MAxCDN to reduce my disk space in VPS.

    Please advice.

    • Hi,
      CDN doesn’t move your WordPress content to their space. It just replicates your content to their distribution network so that website access is faster from the nearest mirror server.

      Just curious, how did you run out of your VPS disk space? I do not seem to run out of my VPS’s 30GB space anytime soon :)

  11. Hasel :

    Hello There,
    Read this article. Nice work :)

    I believe you made a typo there for WHM. It is actually web host manager (WHM) which manages cpanel accounts. WHM comes with cPanel. 😉

  12. I had decided to move to a VPS as soon as my website began making enough money to break-even the monthly VPS hosting cost. I experienced tremendous increase in website performance and security. I also noticed a boost in SERPs as my website was loading quickly and was hosted on a dedicated IP address. The best part was the peace of mind because I keep reading about how shared hosting keeps getting hacked – I mean, your next door neighbor on the shared server might be using an out-dated wordpress plug-in and might leave security flaws wide open!

  13. Aray :

    We are getting ready to start a blog and are looking for a low cost hosting service while we are developing the blog. Obviously shared hosting looks like a least cost route but we don’t want to risk security by having neighbors who may potentially cause vulnerabilities with old plug-ins etc. if we only use shared hosting while we are under development, are we still at risk to these security issues?

    • Hi there,
      Security issues can happen to even VPS or the costliest Dedicated hosting :) However, one can always take certain measures to protect the WordPress installation.

      Shared hosting is indeed the right place to start a small online business as most people start there. I still run 7-8 other blogs on shared hosting and very happy with it. No need to worry about plugin vulnerabilities as most standard plugins keep updating along with WordPress updates. So go ahead, look for a deal and sign up for a cheap and good shared hosting without a worry (Heard HostGator will have a massive discount deal this Monday on Presidential day)

  14. shan :

    If you know to how to run server, I recommend Linode. I have used them and found them to be great.

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